Two-thirds of major NSW Health IT projects are running late

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Two-thirds of major NSW Health IT projects are running late

Auditor calls for internal review.

Six of the NSW Department of Health’s nine largest technology projects are running behind schedule, prompting the state’s auditor-general to call for a review into the way IT initiatives are managed.

The health system’s IT authority, eHealth NSW, currently has nine projects worth more than $20 million on its books.

These include the $170 million statewide electronic medications management rollout, a $90 million rostering overhaul, and the $31 million migration into the GovDC data centres.

But more than half have seen their schedules slip by between one and five years.

According to a report (pdf) handed down by acting NSW auditor-general Tony Whitfield today, eHealth NSW blamed the delays on “the complexity of change management processes involved across health entities, as well as vendor/supplier capability and capacity issues”.

Late projects include:

  • An $80 million rostering overhaul which is now due to be delivered five years late in 2019, albeit roughly $5 million under budget;
  • Electronic patient records for intensive care, a $43 million project due to be delivered four years late in 2020;
  • A $22 million incident management system due to be delivered two years late in 2018;
  • A $101 million community and outpatient care solution that will be delivered one year late in 2017;
  • Phase 2B of NSW Health’s corporate systems overhaul, worth $77 million, to be delivered one year late in 2018; and
  • NSW Health’s $31 million migration to the new GovDC data centres, due to be completed one year late in 2018, albeit roughly $4 million below budget.

The health department has budgeted to spend $671 million on all nine projects, which it expects to deliver a return on investment of equivalent to $2.7 billion, or $3.98 for every dollar spent.

eHealth NSW has insisted it is systematically recording the reasons each of its projects falls behind schedule so it can apply lessons learnt to projects still to come.

However, a frustrated Audit Office said the agency needs to redo the review after the revised completion dates for six of the nine major information technology projects were delayed from the dates advised last year.

eHealth NSW said it introduced mandatory post-implementation reviews for all IT programs in May, and will begin actively enforcing compliance with the new requirement by the end of the calendar year.

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